Our Latest Hosptial Visit
Admitting your child to the hospital is a difficult experience. Last week, Jenna was admitted on her last day of Pre-K (SUCH a bummer). I can’t even tell you what made me think to check her oxygen stats that morning. She had a cough but was already on meds from the doctor’s visit the day before. However, on a whim, I grabbed the pulse oximeter and had Jenna’s sister take the reading in the backseat. “87?? You mean 97, Bailey”, I said quickly. To which my brilliant daughter replied, “I am almost done with 2nd grade, I think I know the difference between an 8 and 9, MOM”. Fair enough…so thinking maybe our oximeter was off, I took her into the school’s nurse’s office to use hers-84. Tried again-87. Again on ours-86.
Needless to say, we were quickly out the door and on our way to the ER. Now, any mom that has had the pure JOY of taking a kid to the ER knows…it is not a quick process. Most likely, you’ll be waiting 1-2 hours before being seen. However, when the nurse took her stats as I was talking to the registration staff and immediately took us into a room with 6 doctors and nurses WAITING for us…I knew this might have been more serious than I was thinking. PS: it also did not help that I gave her a bright blue Dum Dum sucker on the way over in an attempt to calm her down as she was very upset about missing the last day. Nurses and docs did not appreciate that as it added another level of concern. Oops.
After several breathing treatments, her stats just continued to drop into the 80s. So, we had to stay for a night. She improved after several high doses of breathing treatments. However, I am here to say staying with your child in the hospital is no easy feat. Here are my tips if you find yourself in that exact situation.
Tips for your child’s hospital admission
- Take a deep breath, it’s time for survival mode. I chat a lot about survival mode as a medical mom. Survival mode is that thing all of us moms do when it hits the fan. It most likely is going to be a rough night or two. IV’s are no fun and the more your kiddos have to get them…the more anxiety they will have prior to insertion. Time to put your tough mom panties on and take care of business. You will need to be strong, flexible, and accommodating all while physically and emotionally exhausted.
- You need some stuff and things. If you have someone that can bring you stuff and things, ask them to do so. If not, use a delivery service from a local store. You will want personal care items, comfortable clothes, your child’s comfort items (stuffed animals, blankets, etc), and food. Now, as completely CRAZY as it seems, hospitals are notorious for being horrible for food allergies. Since my girls have several food allergies, they are only a few things they can have from the cafeteria. When we stay, my husband has to bring us food that is safe for them. The food items we bring depend on our fridge accessibility while at the hospital. Explain the food allergies and options to your nursing staff. Oh, and don’t forget a phone charger!!
- Use Childlife services. Childlife services is an amazing group of people dedicated to helping your child feel more comfortable and at ease. They have a ton of resources for each age group. We borrowed several games, puzzles, dolls, and craft supplies from our Childlife services. They truly are awesome people and want to help, so let them!
- Expect to watch a TON of TV. Screen time in the hospital does not count. It is a universal rule of momming. Trust me.
- Take time to leave your child’s room. I know this seems like an awful thing to do. However, right after Jenna uses the restroom, I open the door and inform the nurses I am popping out to get coffee since Jenna is currently really into the movie/show. Even though I generally am back within 10 minutes, those 10 minutes are essential for my sanity. Just let the nurses know and they will keep everything in order.
- Do whatever you need to do to survive. Perhaps, during your hospital stay, none of the above will even apply to you. There is no official rule book here. You do what you need to do to make it through your stay. If people offer to help, let them. Be kind to yourself.
After admitting your child to the hospital or any scary medical situation, there is a comedown from survival mode. It is really hard. Essentially, it is time to feel all of the feelings from your stay. The scary, the frustrating, the traumatizing, and the exhausting feelings. It feels like a huge wave for me. I wish I had a list for helping with this aspect of the hospital stay but I have yet to make it through without the survival mode comedown.
After this last round, I locked myself in the bathroom and cried quite a bit. It just came out and I could not stop it. I needed it. Us medical moms live and see things that moms really just aren’t meant to go through. So, if it means you crying, or peacing out for a bit, or sleeping…do that thing. And know that it does not mean you aren’t strong enough. It means you are mom enough to get through it.
Do you have experience and/or tips for admitting a child to the hospital? Please share below!